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Videos: Tesla Model S Hits Indicated 133 MPH, Fits Kindergarten Class

Videos: Tesla Model S Hits Indicated 133 MPH, Fits Kindergarten Class

We’re not the only ones interested in putting the Tesla Model S through its paces, as these videos from amateur testers show. In one video, a driver attempts to determine the real-world top speed of a Model S, while a kindergarten class tests the EV’s pint-sized passenger capacity in another.

Tesla Model S kindergarten class rear hatch 300x199 imageWe’ve demonstrated in our tests that the Tesla Model S can out-accelerate a number of powerful sports sedans, and this new video gives us an idea of how fast it will go if you keep your foot on the gas pedal. The video shows a man driving his Model S Signature Performance equipped with the 85-kW-hr battery on a sparsely populated highway. As he mashes the “throttle,” there’s a subtle hum but otherwise the cabin is eerily quiet. There’s no physical needle to peg, but the digital display finally tops out at an indicated 133 mph.

In the second video, a group of kindergartners questions the Model S’ seven-passenger capacity. The five- to six-year-olds, who are all naturals in front of the camera, count out loud as they appear out of the car’s cargo area, cabin, and frunk. By the end of the video, a total of 16 kindergartners are found stuffed in the Model S’ various orifices.

Check out both videos below.

Source: YouTube

By Alex Nishimoto

Panasonic Gives Tesla A $30-Million Jolt Of Cash For Powertrain Development

Panasonic Gives Tesla A $30-Million Jolt Of Cash For Powertrain Development

Electrons are small. You may think that dead pixel on your computer screen is small, but it’s a city block compared to an electron. This may be why many people don’t understand how hard it is to store enough of them to power a car. Two companies with an intimate knowledge of the problem are electric car pioneer Tesla, and electronics giant Panasonic.

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This week, the Japanese tech company announced it was investing $30 Million into Tesla to jointly develop new battery technology for its upcoming electric sedan and to be licensed by other manufacturers. Tesla currently uses Panasonic cells to power its Lotus-based Roadster and is working with Toyota on developing their next generation of hybrid and all-electric vehicles. The infusion of cash came in the form of Panasonic acquiring a 2-percent ownership stake in Tesla.

Panasonic recently announced its own joint-venture with Toyota, dubbed Primearth EV Energy Co. The goal is to develop more efficient nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries. Future plans involve the merger of Panasonic and current rival Sanyo to become a battery development powerhouse for the quickly expanding electric car market.

Factoid: Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most efficient type being used in electric vehicles and are roughly 64 times less energy dense than good ole gasoline. The best Li-ion cells are currently capable of roughly 0.72 MJ/Kg while gasoline is roughly 46.4 MJ/Kg.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

By Motortrend Staff

Lingering Losses: Tesla Reports $38.4 Million Loss for the Second Quarter

Lingering Losses: Tesla Reports $38.4 Million Loss for the Second Quarter

Tesla Motors has yet to post a profit in its short history, and just recorded another significant loss for the second quarter of 2010. With sales of its Roadster electric vehicle in limited quantities, Tesla is now looking toward the launch of its second product, the Model S, in hope of turning a profit

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Although revenue was strong at $28.4 million – a 5.4-percent increase over the same period last year – the automaker managed a $38.4 million net loss. The deficit is attributed to the continued research and development costs for Tesla’s next project, the forthcoming Model S sedan. The Silicon Valley-based automaker insists the development of the Model S is on track, and will debut in 2012 with a price tag of around $57,400 – nearly half the amount of the Roadster’s $109,000. With a more affordable offering, Tesla is expecting a dramatic increase in sales. As of July, the entire run of Tesla Roadsters has accounted for just 1200 sales.

In June, Tesla launched an initial public offering that generated $226 million. Tesla was the first U.S. automaker to go public since Ford’s IPO in 1956. The instant cash infusion should help keep Tesla on its feet until the Model S sees the light of day. Tesla expects its losses to continue, however, until the Model S debuts.

Can Tesla hold out until a second product arrives? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

By Steve Diehlman

Repriced: Tesla Model S MSRPs Jump By $2500, Battery Replacement Costs Revealed – Rumor Central

Repriced: Tesla Model S MSRPs Jump By $2500, Battery Replacement Costs Revealed

If you’re considering a Tesla Model S, now would be a wise time to place your order. The EV automaker has just announced that all reservations placed after the end of this year are subject to a price increase of $2500. The 40 kW-hr Model S, for example, will jump to $59,900. The 60 and 85 kW-hr models will cost $10,000 and $20,000 more respectively. The range-topping 85 kW-hr Performance model will carry a $94,900 price tag.

All Tesla Model S cars with the revised pricing will add as standard equipment 12-way power seats and heated front seats. At a constant 55 mph, Tesla estimates the ranges of the three different motor choices at 160, 230, 300 miles. Claimed acceleration from 0-60 mph times take from 4.4 to 6.5 seconds, though we tested a Performance model completing the sprint in 3.9 seconds.

Tesla notes that the $2500 price increase is half the rate of inflation, and with plenty of press — it was the 2013 Automobile of the Year, after all — luxury customers may still be willing to pay the premium. Speaking of premiums, Tesla is also offering a four-year/50,000-mile extended warranty above the car’s standard four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

The automaker has also revealed pricing for battery replacements. Taking the mystery out of the one maintenance detail that scares many about electric cars, Tesla says that $8000 will buy 40 kW-hr Model S customers a new battery to be installed at any time after the eighth year of ownership. The cost rises to $10,000 for the 60 kW-hr battery and $12,000 for the 85 kW-hr battery.

Those battery replacement option prices cover the battery and all installation labor and parts needed to make a Model S whole again. Customers who don’t select the option at time of order will have up to 90 days from date of delivery to choose it, and the prepaid battery will apply to second and subsequent owners even if the original owner sells their car. And while it states the fresh battery reprieve comes after the magic 8-year mark, there “will likely be economic outcomes (incentives or drawbacks) tied to early or late exercise options,” per a Tesla spokesperson.

Considering Tesla’s vehicle servicing strategy, we asked if a mobile battery swap was foreseeable in the year 2020. Representatives seemed amused by our image of an electric-powered box truck with enclosed lift being the 2020 version of the electric-car maker’s Service Ranger, but it appears the B&M route is the safest bet for now.

Source: Tesla

Benson Kong contributed to this post.





By Zach Gale

Tesla Announces More Superchargers, Quicker Recharging Times – Rumor Central

Tesla Announces More Superchargers, Quicker Recharging Times

The Tesla Model S has exceeded sales forecasts, which has helped the company pay back its Department of Energy loans years in advance. To encourage long-distance travel, the automaker is speeding up its plan to install Supercharger charging stations all over the U.S. and today we got a first look at Tesla’s plans.

By the end of next month, the number of operational Supercharger stations will triple, and the company claims that within six months, there will be enough Superchargers to service most major metro areas in North America. A year from now, the company says, Superchargers will provide coverage to 80 percent of the population of North America and 98 percent a year later.

The automaker also announced that new technology will significantly cut charging times. While the chargers at 120 kW are in beta test mode (versus 90 kW currently), the faster chargers will be ready this summer. At 120 kW, Tesla claims it will only take 20 minutes to replenish three hours of driving in the Model S.

Some Tesla Supercharger stations have roof-mounted solar panels (from Musk-owned SolarCity) that are said to pump more electricity back into the grid than what is used to recharge cars. Since the Tesla Supercharger has a unique charger receptacle, the stations can’t charge other EVs. Currently, Model S cars with the 85 kW-hr batteries can recharge for free, while those with the 60 kW-hr model can do the same once they purchase Supercharger capability. Musk says all future Teslas will be capable of using the Superchargers.

So what’s next for Tesla? The company is still kicking around the idea of a sub-$40,000 electric sedan as well as a high-torque electric truck and a second production plant in Texas. Of course, those models would likely arrive after the Model X crossover goes on sale around late 2014 and early 2015.

Source: Tesla










By Jason Udy

The 10 Best Sports-Oriented Family Cars – Rumor Central

The 10 Best Sports-Oriented Family Cars

Just because you’ve grown up, settled down, and had a kid or two doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore. While you may have to take a pass on that late-night partying you once did, you can stay in touch with your younger self with a car that’s fun to drive and can double as a family vehicle. However, finding a vehicle that appeals to you both as an enthusiast and a head of household isn’t always easy, because compromises will have to be made both in packaging and in handling.

To help the gearhead parents out there, Automobile Magazine has put together a list of the 10 Best Sports-Oriented Family Cars. These are cars that you might consider when you’re looking for something that will fit your spouse and children but you don’t want to join the herd and settle for a boring crossover or minivan. You want something that reminds you of that two-seater you traded in for the car seat. It’s doable, as evidenced by these exciting four-doors.

By Donny Nordlicht

Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Out-Drags BMW M5 – Rumor Central

Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Out-Drags BMW M5

Are electric cars always slow, planet-saving vehicles? Not necessarily. Contributor Ezra Dyer recently pitted a Tesla Model S electric sedan against one of Germany’s hottest performance four-doors — the 2013 BMW M5 — in an impromptu drag race, and the result was closer than anyone expected.

Dyer subjected the two luxury sedans to a 0-to-100-mph drag race at Gingerman Raceway in western Michigan. While we won’t spoil the result, it’s worth looking at how the two cars compare on paper. The 2013 BMW M5 has a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission directs that power to the rear wheels. The EPA says the car swills gas at a rate of 14/20 mpg (city/highway).

The 2013 Tesla Model S Performance uses a rear-mounted electric motor rated for 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. That’s less grunt than the BMW, but the key is that the motor produces all of its torque instantly, whereas the M5′s torque band peaks at 1500 rpm. The Tesla’s electric motor is backed up by an 85-kWh lithium-ion battery that the company claims will allow for a driving range of about 300 miles per charge.

When it comes to price and weight, there’s little difference between the two. The BMW M5 seen here wears an as-tested sticker of $106,695 (after destination) and weighs 4387 lbs, while the Tesla Model S Performance costs $102,270 and tips the scales at 4640 lbs.

So, which will take the drag-racing crown: a twin-turbocharged gasoline performance sedan, or a futuristic electric luxury car? Watch the video below to find out.



By Jake Holmes

Feature Flick: The Tesla Model S is 2013 Automobile of the Year – Rumor Central

Feature Flick: The Tesla Model S is 2013 Automobile of the Year

We know we’ve already announced it, but it bears repeating: the Tesla Model S is the 2013 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year. The car’s blend of electric-car smoothness and efficiency, gas-powered car range and power/torque, and sleek interior and exterior design won our hearts (and our votes) early last month during three days of testing in western Michigan, besting some 27 other competitors along the way…both on the road and at the track.

You can read more about the Tesla Model S — and the award – by clicking here, but we’ve also got a condensed, visual version, and it’s our Feature Flick this morning. Watch as road test editor Chris Nelson threads the Tesla Model S through Chicago traffic and explains each and every reason why we at Automobile love this car so much.

In addition to naming the Tesla Model S our Automobile of the Year, we gave out four more awards for Man, Technology, Design, and Racing Car of the Year. The Nissan DeltaWing enthralled us so much this year that we resurrected our old RCoY award just to give it to the futuristic, lightweight racer. The Porsche Boxster finally let its exterior curves and creases match its sporting character, finally making it the true 550 Spyder successor it was always supposed to be…and our Design of the Year winner. The 2013 Technology of the Year might be a generic one–cameras–but recent developments in technology have allowed the humble lens-and-sensor duo to save lives and prevent property damage while also being more reliable than equivalent radar/ultrasonic sensor setups. The 2013 Man of the Year–Chrysler/Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne–was a no-brainer. After spending years in turmoil with inconsistent products, Chrysler is finally back thanks to Marchionne’s dramatic (and occasionally controversial) turnaround.

And our award winners have good company: we’ve named about 90 men, technologies, designs, and automobiles over the past 22 years (the awards as we know them were created in 1990).

Read about our former Automobile of the Year winners by clicking here.

Read about our former Design of the Year winners by clicking here.

Read about our former Man of the Year winners by clicking here.

Read about our former Technology of the Year winners by clicking here.




By Ben Timmins

TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster Embarks on 24,000-Mile World Road Trip

TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster Embarks on 24,000-Mile World Road Trip

Missed seeing the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster in person at the Geneva motor show? You may still have a chance to do so, as the car is about to embark on a 24,000-mile, eight-month drive around the world.

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Dubbed the “Odyssey of Pioneers,” the trip will be the first of its kind. Sure, EVs have made road trips before (in fact, a Roadster Sport recently made the trek from Los Angeles to Detroit), but never before has a zero emissions vehicle completed such a task. The car is poised to visit some 15 major cities and at least 150 smaller towns during the course of its journey.

The Roadster won’t be specially prepared for the journey. First shown at the Geneva motor show, the TAG Heuer car is primarily a cosmetic enhancement of the stock Roadster Sport. Apart from green and red mirrors, a swoopy grey paint scheme, and a special edition watchpiece mounted inside the car, the car is untouched.

The car is scheduled to embark on its first leg tomorrow, traveling 53 miles from Basel to Zurich in a convoy formed by 20 other Swiss Tesla owners. With a range of approximately 150 miles, the car will need to be charged nightly, which may create some issues in some remote parts of the world.

The journey is expected to take approximately eight months, and should it make it to Paris come October, it’ll be the star at a huge celebration.

Source: Tesla

By Steve Diehlman

Rumors Video Roundup: Hot Lapping the Fiesta ST, Cutting Up a Model S, Best of Walter Rohrl – Rumor Central

Rumors Video Roundup: Hot Lapping the Fiesta ST, Cutting Up a Model S, Best of Walter Rohrl

In this week’s edition of the Rumors Video Roundup, we’ve got the Focus ST’s little brother, the Ford Fiesta ST, getting put through its paces in Belgium, a factory-fresh Tesla Model S getting chomped to pieces by the Jaws of Life in the interest of safety, and the owner of a Koenigsegg CCR get his keys out the same way us workin’ stiffs with Civics and F-150s do.

In addition, we take a look at some of the epic driving done by Porsche test driver Walter Röhrl, and ask if it’s possible that a front-drive hot hatch have too much power, in this case in the form of the Mazdaspeed 3. Check out our weekly video roundup below.

Feature Flick: Watch a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST on a Hot Lap

We’ve always though that the U.S. could use more pint-sized pocket rockets, and Ford seems to agree. The Blue Oval’s 2014 Fiesta ST will be joining the Fiat 500 Abarth here in the U.S. later this year. Ahead of its debut, Ford has just released a quick video of the new Ford Fiesta ST on a hot lap at its Belgian test facility.

Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Gets Ripped Up by the Jaws of Life

Electric cars like the Tesla Model S offer up a unique challenge to firefighters. Rather than engines, fuel tanks, and fuel lines, electric cars have motors, batteries, and high-voltage cables that can potentially electrocute someone trying to save an occupant after an accident. Because of the challenge, Tesla has just put out a video showing just how firefighters should dismantle a Model S in the event of an accident.

Feature Flick: Koenigsegg Keys Locked in Car

It turns out that this “oops” moment doesn’t just happen to college students – it also happens to owners of Koenigsegg CCR supercars. Automotive blog Carscoops came across this video of said Koenigsegg owner fishing his keys out of his apparently locked car through a crack in the window — and, yes, that does seem to be a wire hanger he’s using.

Feature Flick: Celebrating Walter Rohrl’s 66th Birthday

Today marks the 66th birthday of Walter Röhrl, rally driver extraordinaire and present-day Porsche test driver. Born on this day in 1947, Röhrl grew up as a ski instructor and chauffeur, but at age 21 he tried his first rally. The rest is history: Röhrl became one of history’s most storied and accomplished rally drivers, immortalized on YouTube for his fancy footwork and daring driving.

 

Feature Flick: Does the 2013 Mazdaspeed3 Have Too Much Power?

The 2013 Mazdaspeed3 channels 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque to its front wheels, making for an entertaining drive. On this Feature Flick, Carlos Lago asks if the hot hatch, which is rough around the edges, is fun because of or in spite of its powertrain.

By Edward A. Sanchez